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Read part I of Alex' journery through Tokyo

Taking in Tokyo – part II

Alex Bonello - Tokyo - Imperial Palace Gardens

Following on from part I, continue this journey through Tokyo with Alexander Bonello

Besides the gorgeous and perfectly maintained parks and famous Japanese style gardens, which never fail to feast mind and spirit, there are countless sites to explore. If you want to catch an impressive glimpse of the city from up above, you have a choice of the two highest towers in Japan. One is Tokyo Tower, which looks distinctly like the Eiffel Tower and at 332.9 metres is the second tallest structure in Japan. It is a magnificent sight at night, lit up in distinctive yellow and orange lighting. Then there is the Tokyo Skytree, a broadcasting tower which at 634 metres is the tallest structure in Japan, the tallest tower in the world and the second highest structure in the world, after Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Yes I know that all this nomenclature is rather confusing…

  

As may be expected, the shopping possibilities in a place like Tokyo are purely endless. This varies from tiny holes in the wall, to small and average sized shops, to large department stores, endless malls and every other possible existing format. Similarly you can go for the top brands and enjoy spending a little fortune in less than a day, or shop around for relatively cheaper stuff if you are so inclined. There are also many districts around Tokyo which specialise specifically in certain types of shops, as is Ginza for top brands and the electronics district for such goods.

Pricing in general is perhaps not cheap for most items, however Japan is no longer the greatly expensive destination that it used to be and by a long shot. The yen has greatly devalued over the years which has brought prices down to a similar level to top European capitals today.

However if it is clothing you are after, you might have a bit of a problem, especially if you are, let us say of the common Western corpulent type. Then finding your size might be harder than you think. It is in fact quite amazing that you encounter virtually no overweight people in spite of the zillions of individuals who cross your path every day.

And if for you, similarly to us, eating and drinking are about the greatest thing you can do when on holiday, then you will certainly not be let down. The options are simply endless and while most restaurants tend to be small and verging on poky, with few visibly large or lavish establishments around except for those in luxury hotels, this is not a drawback in any way.

As may be expected, the vast majority of restaurants offer local cuisine, however there is also a marked focus on Korean and Chinese, as well as Thai, Vietnamese and Indian. Italian restaurants loudly displaying their world famous pizza and pasta options, are neither lacking. And if you desire any other cuisine on earth, all you have to do is look for it and you are sure to find it sooner rather than later.

In spite of what many might think, sushi and sashimi are also somewhat considered as speciality food even in Japan. It can be found everywhere but you might also want to try their more typical fare such as their miso and oden soups, the many tempuras, seaweed in all its forms, their many pickled and salted items, deep-fried meat and fish dishes and the many stews of all types, flavoured with local exotic ingredients.

Here again, similarly to their clothing, some cultural adjustment might have to be made on the subject of portion sizes. So when you point at the lifesaving photos on the menu under ‘main courses’, don’t expect much more than a saucer full, mezze sized portion at most. It is obvious that our eating habits insofar as quantities are concerned differ considerably, to say the least.

But there is loads more to do in Tokyo with something to please anyone’s tastes. You may wish to visit the temples, such as the renowned Senso-ji in Asakusa. The architecture and style is appealing, though admittedly the site is usually swamped with screaming tourists.

There are also the entertainment and red light districts of Kabukicho and Roppongi, which are fun, safe and definitely worth a visit, provided that as anywhere else you practice a bit of street sense. This is also where you will find endless dining options until late at night, as well as some very entertaining shows.

There is also the famous Tsukiji fish market, provided that you are prepared to get there before dawn. Tokyo Bay and its many bridges are also of great scenic values. So you will never be short of things to do or see.

Japan proved to be one place that captured our hearts. The gentleness of the people and their more than intriguing culture, make the long trip very worth its while.

 

Written by Alexander Bonello
Alexander Bonello is a writer and a marketing consultant. After having created
and directed a wide ranging number of businesses in various service industries,
he now dedicates much of his time advising others on marketing and related business activities.
He also spends as much time as possible doing what he enjoys best – writing.
 

2 Comments

  1. Danno says:

    Gotta Love Tokyo! I hope to visit again in the near future

  2. Tezi07 says:

    Would love to have Sushi in Tokyo :)

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